The African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed concern over a new wave of COVID-19 infections as the continent enters the holiday season. CDC Africa Director John Nkengasong said they were encouraging African countries to consider imposing a vaccine mandate.
Africa is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 infections, according to figures released by the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Thursday (12/23).
The continent recorded 253,000 positive cases over the past week, an increase of 21 percent from the previous week and the death rate from the virus rose by 14 percent.
Speaking to reporters online, CDC Africa chief John Nkengasong expressed concern about the rising coronavirus infections.
“We continue to see these waves come and go but what is particularly worrying here is the fourth wave, and possibly the fifth wave which starts just before the holiday season. It was very worrying for me. Last year we saw that wave coming after the holiday season and not before the holiday season. So, we have to keep that in mind.”
Since the Omicron variant of the coronavirus was identified in South Africa last November, 22 countries have reported a number of infections in their communities.
While more and more Africans have been vaccinated, a total of about 325 million people have been fully vaccinated on the continent, but most of the rest of the population has not yet received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nkengasong said every country needs to launch vaccination efforts.
“There is still a long way to go, at least there is progress. A massive campaign is needed in every country. Everyone should take part especially now that we know of a new variant that is coming. Can’t talk about boosters if they haven’t received the first dose yet. The campaign should encourage those who have not received their first dose to be vaccinated immediately.”
Some countries such as Kenya prohibit unvaccinated people from accessing government services and public places. This was done to encourage more people to be vaccinated.